Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
I'm writing to ask about the status of edible items which contain a certain percent of alcohol in them as an ingredient (e.g. in my case ice-cream).
I don't feel intoxicated or anything at all, but some of my friends say its haram and we should not eat it, since the purpose of declaring alcohol haram in the first place was to abstain from coming under its intoxicating effect, I believe that using alcohol in an ingredient is not good enough a reason to declare it haram... but that's my 'liberal' and unjustified mind at work here... what I would really like is a judgement in light of what the Quran has told us and what the hadith have elaborated...
The Prophet told us that consuming even a little of something that intoxicates is haram. This is established through many clear texts, and is the position of all four Sunni schools of sacred law. [There are some further details about the Hanafi position, which may be found by searching for the term 'alcohol' on the Hanafi list's website, http://www.SunniPath.com]
Allah has instructed us in the Qur'an to, "Ask the people of remembrance if you know not." This is a simple conditional statement: IF (you know not) THEN (ask the people of remembrance). And the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us, "Scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets."
It is a Divine imperative to follow what they say. We cannot "decide for ourselves."
It would be useful to carefully read the excellent articles by Sh. Abdal Hakim Murad and Sh. Nuh Keller on Sidi Mas'ud Khan's excellent website, http://www.masud.co.uk. These articles are essential reading for Muslims seeking meaning in crazy times.
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